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College degree costs rising at North Carolina public universities

University of North Carolina

Spending per conferred degree increased at North Carolina’s public universities after decreasing every year since 2007-08.

Across all of the state’s public universities, the “education and related spending per degree conferred” increased 2 percent to $67,853 in 2012-13. While that figure is up, university officials are quick to point out it’s still well below the $75,688 spent per degree in 2007-08.

The figure is measured by calculating all operational costs divided by how many degrees were conferred. Costs do not include capital costs, but do combine state appropriations and total tuition collected.

Since 2007-08 degrees conferred have increased 20 percent to 50,667.

UNC System President Tom Ross says there are various factors that cause the figure to fluctuate. One of the biggest factors in 2012-13 was that the university system unfroze pay for the first time in years.

Furthermore, Ross says that simply reducing spending is not necessarily the goal. “We want to be as efficient as possible as long as we don’t reduce quality,” he says.

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